Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Uniform Library

We have been running a uniform library for over a year now. It has made it possible for us to require the boys to wear uniforms, because if they cannot afford a uniform themselves, we can provide one for them. This is something we do personally, but you can also set up a uniform library on a unit or ward level, or I have even heard of districts or towns with a uniform exchange program. I wanted to share how we run our library, what to expect and what has worked best for us.

The first thing you ought to know when setting up a uniform library is not to expect to get all of the uniforms back. It helps to track the uniforms carefully, keeping a list of everything that goes out. We also sew tags inside of each uniform, with our family name or the pack number on them. (You can make your own with printer fabric or get a swatch with sixteen tags here for $5, plus shipping.) People are generally well intentioned and want to give the uniforms back when they are done, but I find they forget. I often have to keep track of the boys or leaders who leave the program, and go to the person or parent and ask for the uniform back. Sometimes I have to ask a few times. The uniforms we have not gotten back were ones loaned out to people in other wards or people who moved.

For the above reason, you need to obtain the uniforms as cheaply as possible. It helps when people in your unit are willing to donate uniforms as the boys outgrow them. You may also need to be less picky about uniform library shirts. Shirts that are long-sleeved, have glue spots on them or are without collars tend to sell a little more cheaply on ebay. A troop in need may decide to go a little "retro" and obtain the older green shirts, as these often sell for a lot less than the newer tan ones. Have everyone you know keep an eye out at thrift stores. You never know when you might walk in and find a uniform jackpot where you have never seen uniforms before. This happened to us recently when we went into a local thrift store and spotted two Cub Scout shirts and a Boy Scout shirt all hanging together toward the front of the store. Never having sold any before, the lady at the register charged us $1.50 a piece for them. Score!

Not wanting to redo the library everytime we move, any uniforms we purchase, belong to our family. Any uniforms donated to us by other people belong to the unit that they are in. When we were part of a "quad-pack" (four wards' Cub Scouts meeting together), if someone donated a uniform, we wrote their pack's number on it, and when the quad-pack broke up, we gave those uniforms to the corresponding wards. We keep all of the uniforms together in one tote, with the labels and list to keep track of everything.

Despite the difficulties, the cost, and the missing uniforms, I am glad we started our uniform library. It is really a nice thing to have. If you have any experience with a uniform library or uniform exchange program, please tell us about it in the comments.


Fishgutts said...

Is this a ticket? Genius idea!!

Evenspor said...

Nope, not a ticket item. This is something we have been doing for some time.